Matches head outdoors with the DNR

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Archery, camping, fishing – these aren’t activities that every kid growing up in an urban area is able to experience. But Big Brothers Big Sisters has teamed up with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to help matches explore the great outdoors. It’s all part of a new program called “Outdoor Sports Buddies.”

The collaboration between the DNR and BBBS began as a conversation between two BBBS staffers, Director of Match Support Brian Hissong and Match Support Coordinator Louis Biondo. Both are nature and outdoor sports enthusiasts, and it was important to them to get more Littles and Bigs outside and in “the wild.”

Brian and Louis partner with DNR Mentor Program Coordinator Mike ‘Cold Front’ Kurre to plan Outdoor Sports Buddies activities, which focus on exploring nature safely. At first, some kids were nervous. “They think a wolf or a bear is going to get them,” says Mike. “My job is to reassure them, and to get them to have fun. The first fish they catch makes it all worthwhile!”

Says Louis, “We’re very grateful to the many partnering organizations that have stepped up to help Outdoor Sports Buddies evolve. Engaging youth in the outdoors increases their appreciation of nature and their understanding of great Minnesota traditions like camping and fishing.”

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